The levity at which Shaun Tan weaves visually in “The Arrival” is something that makes his illustrative style an enjoyment to read, though this previous book had not a decipherable word to consume. I don’t state that as a critque—his construct was actually intentional. As with The Arrival the structure of the suburban landscape based on the usual mundane familiar to all he make fantastical twists with wonderful results. More than just a collection of stories, it is a description of Tan’s world that we can maybe succor to imaginary escape to. In an age that youth are bombarded by technological social networking or the white noise of everything being turned on, reading may be a reprieve or an escape for the kids with attention deficit disorder. For all that tales encompassed here, there’s something for everyone. “The Tales from Outer Suburbia” is a book for the young reader to fully invest their time on and unplug from the virtual world and embrace the realm of imagination. Tan is a great guide, who’ll do what he can to invite you there. It’s this new volume of work, Tales from Outer Suburbia, we see Tan’s brevity of working with text along with his multiplicity of visual styles employed to match these tales. This wonderful collection of short stories are playful and adhering to a creativity of spirit balancing one-half graphic novel between a young adult reader. Tan has once again accomplished a fine work that all ages can enjoy. Tales from Outer Suburbia is worth your undivided attention and will probably collect awards that Tan’s previous book did and deservedly so. So, the best thing for you to do is find yourself a quiet place and crack up the book, it’s probably what Tan’s doing when not creating these fun works of visual creativity.
“Tales from Outer Suburbia” by Shaun Tan. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009.